11th Avenue, New York.
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Yesterday, I sat down for an interview with Brent Luvaas of Urban Fieldnotes, an ongoing research project on the anthropological and sociological aspects of street fashion photography. We’d set up the interview just before the fashion week season started, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend any time considering the types of questions he would ask and how I would give me responses without looking like an idiot. But then I went in and read the transcripts of ever other photographer he’d interviewed and realised that there was in fact, no way to prepare. Though some of his core questions were the same. the tenor of every conversation seemed to change with the character of each photographer, their pedigree and current standing within the fashion world. This occurred to me about 3 quarters of the way through our interview when he asked me if I felt I was firmly part of the community of fashion photographers in New York. I realised that I had no clue what I’d said up to that point, but somehow, my answers led us down to that place. I had to take a few seconds before answering the question. But then, as I gave my answer, I realised that it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter (the answer to the question), or what people thought of me, my level of skill as a photographer . . . because none of that was the reason I picked up a camera to begin with. I didn’t start shooting because I wanted to shoot fashion or have a blog that looked like this, I picked up a camera because I thought I’d be good at it, and the more I shot, the more resolute I became with the notion that I could potentially become very good at it–at the end of the day, I suppose that remained my motivation. And for the last few minutes of the interview, I suddenly started feeling like Kanye West (I guess); I went from feeling modest to suddenly wanting to win. If people don’t know that you want to win, it defeats the purpose of competing.